QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE
Dear Veteran Coach's Wife,
This is my husband’s first year coaching. I truly think he is having a hard time balancing time with the team & time at home. I am home 9/10 times by myself each night. The nights he is home, he isn’t fully at home. He comes in and lays on the couch, doesn’t help with the household chores, & just complains about being tired. He has no idea how I feel & every time I try to discuss it with him he makes me feel like the bad guy. I am overwhelmed, exhausted, lonely & just depressed. We are a long way from family & every morning I wake up wanting to live near my parents again so I’m not home alone all the time. How can I get him to understand that he needs to learn there is a time for sports and a time for home? And when he’s at home, he needs to be fully there?
Lonely and Exhausted
ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES
Dear Lonely and Exhausted,
I could have written a similar letter a few times in our marriage. Coaching can certainly be an all-consuming profession. Especially if your husband is working with a head coach who requires a lot of hours or is trying to prove themselves as a first-time head coach. I know it’s an odd year and a lot of life is just starting to open back up. That seems to be complicating things in some states. I want to encourage you to try to use your short-term moments of independence to focus on something you’ve been putting off.
If you’ve wanted to explore a new hobby or take a college course now is the time to fill that calendar with things you’re interested in for you! Have you had a chance to explore the community? Are there evening classes through the local Y or park district that seem interesting? Don’t hesitate. There are so many online options these days between Craftys.com and Masterclass.com that you don’t even need to leave your house to dive into a new interest.
After the season, take time to talk about what did and DID NOT work the previous months. When you both have the emotional and mental bandwidth to talk about solutions to connect during the season you’ll both feel heard.
You ARE seen and heard,
Dear Lonely and Exhausted,
We fell into the trap that coach always being gone was just part of the job. We both accepted it as gospel and didn’t even think to question it. Coach felt as the new guy or the young one that he had to prove himself, be in before the head coach and not leave until he was gone, and he said yes to anything and everything that was asked of him. And I knew no different. It wasn’t until we started a family that I began to push back, but by then we were set in that difficult to break pattern. Communication was key. While I wasn’t always kind or eloquent about it, once I started asking if it was necessary for the program or just busywork, did it need to get done ASAP or could it wait, change started to happen.
Coach was very defensive in the beginning, but I realized it was out of guilt and not a lack of caring. While it definitely depends on the head coach and time of year, coach learned to work smarter, not harder. With life changes (new baby or job change), we’ve had to continually communicate and adjust. I’ve had to accept that there were just some things he couldn’t get out of and he’s had to learn that there just some things that weren’t a dire priority. Now that he’s a head coach, he extends the courtesy of reasonable flexibility that we wish we had (or at least felt comfortable asking for) to his assistants.
I’ve also noticed how big of a role nutrition plays in coach’s energy level. There will be no changing the fact that he gives it his all, but for him to have any left over for home life, better nutrition is key. I’m talking a lot less processed foods and more real, whole foods and not necessarily a type of diet. It will be a lot of work initially, but once it becomes a habit, it’s worth every second.